James Clear

James Clear quotes on what to work on

Author of the #1 NYT bestseller Atomic Habits. I write about building better habits.

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How to 80/20 your life: (1) Make a list of the 10 things you spend the most time on. (2) Circle the two that truly drive your results. Do more of those. (3) Look at the others. Eliminate ruthlessly. Automate or outsource what you can. Press pause on the rest. (4) Repeat.


For the last week, I have started each day by writing “What do I want?” at the top of a blank page. It’s surprising how useful it is to keep asking yourself this question. Each time, my answers get more precise. Once I know what I want, I translate the answer into action steps.


Many people work hard, but few people work on the highest and best thing. Usually, it takes no more effort to work on high leverage tasks than it does to work on low leverage ones. It's just a matter of directing your energy.


A 5-step process for nearly anything: (1) Explore widely. Find out what is possible. (2) Test cheaply. Run small, quick experiments. Sample things. (3) Edit ruthlessly. Focus on the best. Cut everything else. (4) Repeat what works. Don't quit on a good idea. (5) Return to 1.


Step 1: Know exactly what you want. Have a big vision that is crystal clear. Step 2: Know exactly what is true. See reality for what it is and accept the honest facts of the situation. Step 3: Be flexible in the way you close the gap between 1 and 2. Bold. Rational. Adaptable.


Before you begin, think as if you are a lazy person. Assume the competition will work harder. Your only chance is a better strategy. After you begin, work as if you are a dumb person. Assume the competition is smarter and more talented. Your only chance is to outwork them.


Vision is the bottleneck of talent. Most talent is wasted because people do not clearly know what they want. It’s not a lack of effort, but a lack of direction. There are many capable people in the world, but relatively few that focus on what matters.


One of the greatest forms of freedom comes from knowing what is important to you. It grants you the freedom to ignore everything else.


What you do on your ordinary days determines what you can achieve on your extraordinary days.


Motivation is knowing what you want.


Time spent working hard is often better spent identifying where the bottleneck is located. Working hard on the wrong thing leads to frustration, not progress.


Desiring results without considering the lifestyle is chasing a false summit. Do not ask, “What do I want my best day to look like?" But rather, “What do I want my normal day to look like?" It’s easy to chase results without realizing you would hate the lifestyle.

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